Message sinks in and Illman comes full circle

‘FAILURE is not an option’ sounds like a fairly apt description of the way Kym Illman approached his entry into business several years ago. It was a major factor motivating the managing director of Messages on Hold and a philosophy to which he attributes his success in building a multi-million dollar company from a home-based business.

Armed with audio disco equipment and based in a Scarborough flat, Messages on Hold has evolved from an idea to a global company.

After being sacked by Channel Nine in the early 1980s and unable to find work in the media industry, Mr Illman began to record radio programs for boutique clothes stores from his home.

“Suddenly I ended up with this contract recording Jeans West radio that was earning me more in one day than what I would in five and half days at Channel Nine,” Mr Illman said.

However, the knowledge that he would be back to square one if the contract fell through drove Mr Illman to keep expanding the business and make headway in the then fledgling messages on hold market.

“I was selling, I was voicing, I was writing, I was invoicing and doing all the recording right at home,” he said.

With several big clients under his belt Mr Illman began to accelerate growth, employing more people and growing the business out of its domestic surrounds. Currently the company has a presence in 14 countries, a turnover of about $5 million a year and employs 58 people.

Mr Illman said implementing database software into the business, which allowed customers to be tracked, was the single most important reason why the business was able to grow at such a rapid pace.

“It was such a valuable sales and business tool – I can’t imagine a business running without a database like we have,” he said.

Networking was another key ingredient in the exponential growth of the Messages on Hold.

“I used to get out and deal with business people face to face and talk and talk,” Mr Illman told WA Business News.

“I just wanted all the time to grow the business. I wanted to get out of that home environment very quickly.”

Today Mr Illamn has done the full circle and can often be found working at home.

However, instead of mixing music in a room full of audio gear, Mr Illman can these days be found at his laptop taking full advantage of wireless technology, logged onto the company network from his kitchen-table.

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